ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 16

Drawing a dying art

By Poornima Weerasinghe

Draw the Line, an exhibition of visual arts invites the audience for a discussion on the challenge of the hierarchical classification of arts which still exists in the Central Province.

The artists of Draw the line shared their academic and professional experience with the traditional artists who practise lac work and brass work at the National Design Centre, Kalapuraya, Naththarampotha. The artists conducted their research on the use of the medium of lac with deep colours with the contrast of their respective medias but with their own theme and style.

Traditional lac work is an endangered art practised by traditional craft families. Palm leaf manuscripts wraps (kamba), traditional standing fans (Sesath) and curios are among the popular lac products. According to sources, the tradition of lac art is believed to be practised through the ages since the arrival of the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree to Sri Lanka.

The technique is not visible in modern art due to the unavailability of the material and skilled persons. The work is time consuming. The blend of available colours is deep. The successors of the master craftsmen gradually gave up their traditional occupation with the decline of the feudal system. These practices are isolated to a few villages in the Kandy and Matale districts at present.

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